Internet radio firms such as Pandora applauded the introduction of parallel bills in the House and Senate last Friday that would qualify web radio services for the same digital music royalty rates paid by cable and satellite providers. Backed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and technology groups such as the Consumer Electronics Association and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, versions of the new Internet Radio Fairness Act introduced in both chambers of Congress would subject Internet radio services to Section 801(a) of the Copyright Act. That Section enables the federal judiciary panel in charge of copyright rates to consider both the value of the music and the effect of rates over the industry as a whole when setting rates. Under Section 801(a), cable and satellite-based providers of digital music services pay eight percent of their revenues in copyright compensation to music labels and performers, excluding royalties that are paid separately to songwriters and publishers. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, however, Pandora and other webcasters are subject to a different “willing buyer, willing seller” standard that requires payment of a minimum 25% of their annual revenues in royalties. Complaining that his company paid roughly half of its total revenues in royalties last year, Pandora founder Tim Westergren praised the bills as “a win for consumers, artists and technology innovation,” and for addressing “[the] discriminatory practice of favoring one form of digital radio over another.” Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the author of the Senate bill, observed that the legislation “puts Internet radio on an even plane with its competitors,” as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a co-sponsor of the House bill, declared: “it’s well past time to stop discriminating against Internet radio.” Although an NAB spokesman predicted that passage of the bills would “promote new distribution platforms and new revenue streams that foster the future growth of music,” an executive of the MusicFirst Coalition, which represents record labels and artists, lamented: “going from a fair market, ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ rate to a government-mandated subsidy will break the backs of artists, while Pandora executives pad their pockets.”